Province boosts tech research funding at UBC Okanagan

A not-for-profit organization will use B.C. funds to get students to do research in technology, health, business and engineering.

  • Feb. 3, 2016 5:00 p.m.
UBC Okanagan students demonstrate new high-tech research equipment.

UBC Okanagan students demonstrate new high-tech research equipment.

The provincial government will invest  $6 million for the next generation of talent in tech research and business to support the recently announced #BCTECH strategy.

The not-for-profit organization Mitacs will use the funding to bring students together with industry and business, giving students the opportunity to do research on real-world projects in a range of sectors, including technology, health, business and engineering.

“Our $6-million investment will help Mitacs to support trainees as they develop business and research skills in real life projects,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson.

“In partnership with businesses, government and universities, the projects undertaken by Mitacs support B.C.’s Tech Strategy and our skilled and talented entrepreneurs to commercialize research.”

On Monday at UBC Okanagan, Wilkinson was given a first-hand look at a partnership between UBCO students and industry partners Helios Global Technologies.

Through the support of Mitacs funding, the partnership is researching energy-absorbing materials in helmets with the aim of reducing concussion severity from impacts during sports. If successful, the resulting liner material will be used by industrial partners to develop a prototype helmet that may have the capacity to reduce the incidence of concussions.

“Financial support from the provincial government is helping students like Jonathan Smirl get the skills he needs to develop talent while leveraging his research for commercialization,” said Alejandro Adem, CEO of Mitacs.

“In B.C., we are fortunate to have a highly qualified pool of talent that is poised to have significant impact on our technology industry. Today’s investment highlights the importance of creating training and research opportunities to ensure that these young innovators can easily transition into the job market.”

Since 2004, the B.C. government has provided over $29 million to Mitacs, an organization that works with government, industry and research universities to support industrial and social innovation.